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Death of Andrea Dworkin

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  • Death of Andrea Dworkin

    This is just to say that my dear friend, the great radical feminist Andrea Dworkin, died in Washington on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. at the age of 58. She was a generous, loving friend and will be missed by many. Her death leaves my future feeling pretty empty at this moment.

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  • #2
    Whenever it's feeling empty, you can always come here.
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

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    • #3
      I know that, Berry. Thanks. I have very few close old friends and the loss of one of them leaves a huge gap, but certainly the fellowship I feel here does help.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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      • #4
        You know like a million people. This must be a painful constant in your life, more so compared to someone like myself who knows almost no one. You've mentioned stacks of friends here.

        For those of us unfamiliar with her work, can you make a recommendation?
        The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

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        • #5
          How terrible! I am very sorry to hear this. And I know your friendship has been a very long one.

          L'Etranger
          Google ergo sum

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          • #6
            58 is way too young, but she seemed to live with an unusual conviction and intensity, which is perhaps what it's all about. We cannot helpfully intrude on your despair, but trust it will evolve into a happier resonance of her life. Thoughts with you, of course.

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            • #8
              I'm sorry for your loss, Mike. Wish i could be more useful or sensical at a time like this. never know what to say. but it's sincere.

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              • #9
                People like her are so rare these days. And we so need them.

                The world sucks a bit more.

                Berry, you can check extracts of her works on
                this site

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                • #10
                  I'm genuinely sorry to read about Ms Dworkin's death. 58 is definitely too young.

                  She was one of the smug, complacent, patronising, patriarchal, World's great stirrers and winders up and even just for that reason alone, she's a real loss.


                  :(

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                  • #11
                    *sigh* What a loss to lose another fighter for womens rights.
                    They are needed even though certain people want to go back to just being housewives again..

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                    • #12
                      Very sad. Sorry you lost such a dear friend, Mike.

                      Adlerian, I can't find news on it, either. Be nice if that meant it didn't happen...

                      I did find these words about Andrea Dworkin by Gloria Steinem:

                      "Every century, there are a handful of writers who help the human race to evolve. Andrea is one of them."
                      "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                      --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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                      • #13
                        I don't think most newspapers have yet had the news. Someone from the Guardian spoke to me today.
                        Yes, it would be wonderful if it weren't true.

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                        • #14
                          Here's a piece I did fairly recently, for Andrea's birthday.
                          A bit stilted, I fear, but it gives some idea of the woman she was.

                          ANDREA DWORKING APPRECIATION

                          Michael Moorcock


                          HAVING BEEN HER admirer since Our Blood, I had wanted to meet Andrea Dworkin for quite some time so that when our mutual publisher, Secker and Warburg, told me she would be appearing at the University of East Anglia and asked if I would appear on the same platform I accepted at once! Feeling somewhat reclusive, I had been reluctant to agree to any public appearance until the editor mentioned Andrea's name. What was more I really had no particular wish to share a stage with the other participants who had been mentioned, a poet and a newspaper critic whose work I didn't much care for.

                          So my wife Linda (also a Dworkin fan) and I travelled on the train to Norwich, East Anglia, with the publisher and the critic, who proved to be as obnoxious as I remembered, though I did my best, for the sake of the occasion, to be pleasant to him. I was more than willing to suffer the unpleasantness so long as I had the prospect of meeting a woman I already regarded as one of the most eloquent and incisive social analysts of our time.

                          We arrived at the hotel where she was staying and sought her out while the poet and the critic went off to drink at the bar. My publisher was nervous. He had heard that Dworkin was a "man-eater", fierce and uncompromising. Others had said the same about her, yet I could not believe, from her writings, that this was so. The writer I had read was meticulous in supporting her arguments, humane in her judgements, certainly not unfair in her conclusions. And sure enough, of course, when Linda and I were introduced to her she was courteous and gracious, with rather shy good manners, and, as it turned out, she had taken the trouble to read the work of all the other panelists, something neither they nor I had done. Happily I had read all her work to date. The theme of the panel was, as I recall, something to do with subversive writing. I wasn't entirely sure what this had to do with the work of the critic, a pillar of the status quo if ever there was one, but I accepted the theme and had prepared a piece. Eventually, we were taken to the university and the lecture hall where the audience waited for us.

                          Looking out at that audience it was pretty obvious that the majority of it consisted either of Andrea's readers or mine. There was a good contingent of evidently militant feminists there to see Andrea but this did not mean the groups were mutually exclusive. I was comfortable with the audience, the rest of whom were a scattering of students and academics with members of the English and creative writing schools, Malcolm Bradbury, Lorna Sage and Jonathan Raban in the front row.

                          The critic was there to talk about his book about one hundred great English writers, managing to mention only Jane Austin and perhaps Virginia Woolf and no other women in his list. Like the poet, he was a little the worst for drink and not entirely sure what he was there to do. In his braying lisp, he set about describing his argument, which immediately upset the sensibilities of the feminists, who, finding no satisfactory answers from him and being met with facetious sexism, walked out. It took Andrea to bring them back. While I was an admirer of her prose, I was not prepared for what I next experienced. She was an inspiring and passionate speaker whose words brought tears to my eyes and applause from the audience.

                          When Andrea had finished, the poet got up to speak and made some genuinely silly sexist remarks in relation to "battered men" - fairly familiar stuff to those who have attended debates about sexism and violence against women. He then proceeded to read, in a slurred voice, some poems which were equally unpleasant and anti-woman in tone. I looked at him aghast. Even if I had shared his sentiments I would not have dared address that night's audience in that way. There was again a growing anger amongst certain sections of his listeners.

                          The poet was swiftly dragged off and the publisher, who was also the mediator, hastily pushed me forward to speak. I forget about my own prepared notes and instead found myself supporting Andrea's arguments. The meeting had been politicised not so much by her as by the men reacting against her on the platform. By now the blood of the militants was up and they weren't prepared to hear me out. It took Andrea to quiet them and ask them to give me space. We ended up with a lively political debate which wasn't quite what the English school had had in mind but which most of the audience seemed to prefer. So it was on that stage, rather than in private, that Andrea and I began our friendship! We found we had much in common, not least our faith that feminism was the freshest, most dynamic element of modern politics and the one most likely to provide answers for most of our current dilemmas!

                          We have been firm friends now for close to twenty years. I have been able to support her several times in print, with reviews, interviews and general polemic. I have been proud to promote her arguments and ideas through my own public appearances, through my journalism, fiction and my website, which has brought many young men to admire her wisdom as much as I do. I do not see it as my business to preach to women, of course, but by addressing men, I think I am doing something worthwhile. Not because I love her and feel a pretty wholly unconditional friendship towards her, but because I believe her ideas are worth promoting, that they bring something good and important to the world.

                          Since that stormy evening, Linda, myself and Andrea have stood together in mutual support, not only on public platforms but in private, when times have seemed dark and it has taken a great deal to lift us from our despondency. Yet we seem to succeed pretty much most of the time.

                          What has alway struck me most about Andrea, apart from her qualities of intellect and loyal friendship, is her eloquence, her courtesy and her self-control, all of which she exhibited on that first night. It often surprises me, since we are separated usually by thousands of miles, how lucky we have been to be so frequently in (or near) the same place at the same time, meeting in New York, London and even Corpus Christi, Texas, to talk, enjoy ourselves and offer one another help and insights.

                          I often thank my stars that, no matter how reluctant I had originally been to attend that debate, I allowed myself to be persuaded to go to Norwich that night. As a result I have received a reward beyond measure.

                          Andrea Dworkin remains one of my best and most precious old friends. Indeed, she is one of the most valuable people in the world.. As time goes on, I am convinced that more and more of the world will come to appreciate her as much as I do. Even when all the injustice is at last addressed and overcome, when the last predator has ceased to walk the planet, her name and her work will endure for as long as human thought endures.

                          Michael Moorcock,
                          Austin, Texas.
                          Last edited by The Cosmic Balance; 12-29-2008, 05:35 AM. Reason: Paragraph breaks added by Admin

                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                          • #15
                            Another piece I wrote about Andrea:

                            __________________________________________________ ____________
                            SCAPEGOAT: THE JEWS, ISRAEL AND WOMEN'S LIBERATION
                            by Andrea Dworkin
                            Virago, £22.50, pp 454.
                            __________________________________________________ ____________

                            IMAGINE THE despair felt by an idealistic Protestant in Cromwellian England, the newly founded republic surrounded on all sides by enemies sworn to restore a monarch and impose the rule of Rome. Having fought for popular sovereignty and freedom of conscience, seeing the Stuarts as foreign tyrants, the parliamentarians were now behaving very badly in Ireland. If they could foresee the miserable consequences of their realpolitik would they, as Andrea Dworkin in Israel, wonder seriously about condoning such violent policies ? In the final account who and what does the violence satisfy and who suffers most from it ?

                            Increasingly, says Dworkin, contemporary violence is ritualistic and specifically targets women and children.

                            It's a sad irony that the lists of Irish names fleeing the Famine are also those of soldiers who murdered women and children in the American West, in furtherance of an urgent Washington realpolitik aimed at securing borders against potential threats to the recently founded republic.
                            No doubt the right to keep and bear arms was included in the British Bill of Rights (1689) for the same general reasons it was included in the American Constitution. That the UK is not a gun culture, at least yet, could be because common, rather than constitutional, law better reflects Tom Paine's notions of common sense. The question Dworkin asks us in her troubled new study is how does a gun culture develop out of a law-abiding republic and must those who do not traditionally carry arms always be its victims ?

                            Like the bookish, gentle Jews of tradition, who were slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands from Odessa to Lubin, most women do not dream of keeping and bearing arms. After 1945 Jews, including the Dworkins, looked to Joshua rather than Jacob for their models. But women who were fighters in the Zionist struggle, were still raped and battered in private by their political allies, together with their Palestinian counterparts, who also suffered more public humiliation. A trip to Israel in 1988 proved too much for Dworkin. As a Zionist, she had accepted the violence involved in founding a new republic in the Middle East. But now she learned that the resultant machismo put Israeli women in a worse position than they had been in 1950. What had happened to the egalitarian Zionism she had supported?

                            Disraeli is, with George Eliot, one of Dworkin's great literary heroes. Her reading is extensive and profound. Politically, she sees Disraeli as a great popular visionary who stuck to his ideals, was proud of his origins and followed his conscience in all important matters. He also, of course, gave fresh idealism and impetus to his party and secured British interests in the Middle East. She thinks this had something, at least, to do with what you might call his proto-Zionism.

                            The vineyards of Israel have ceased to exist but the eternal law enjoins the children of Israel still to celebrate the vintage. A race that persists in celebrating their vintage, although they have no fruits to gather, will regain their vineyards.

                            predicted Disraeli in Tancred.

                            Disraeli's idealism was romantic, of course, but it was in tune with similar thinking on the Continent as the notion of a Jewish national homeland gradually formed. This idea found particularly deep resonances in the USA and by no means only amongst Jews.

                            To the confusion of the British who see America as just a more successful UK, white, Protestant America is sentimentally bound to support Israel, Catholic Ireland and black South Africa. Americans have a particular story, a mythology if you like, which despite historical questions endures. They share it with Israel and the Irish Republic as they might have shared it with some of their parliamentarian ancestors. It is a powerful myth of freedom, of casting off foreign yokes, of founding an earthly paradise, a new nation state. If the ideal has never quite been achieved, the dream remains as vital as ever. This ideal is at the heart of much American debate and foreign policy, as it seems to me it is at the heart of Scapegoat.

                            A struggling people, in spite of American sympathy with it, isn't automatically virtuous because it struggles. Genocide was the realpolitik of many Indian tribes who experienced it. As the blood feud becomes the only law in our inner cities as well as abroad, we might remember that the Iroquois and Cherokee confederations, inspired by the great Hiawatha, had developed a sophisticated legal system specifically to replace the blood feud. Ultimately destroyed by warring settlers (and Andrew Jackson's greed), it was a system which gave considerable status to women. It had, some might say, no reason to fear its women. Unless obliterated or treated very respectfully, the defeated, as history regularly shows, are prepared to wait centuries for another crack at a conqueror. It makes the powerful oddly uneasy, especially if they remember throwing off their own yoke. Kosovo didn't come out of nowhere and American public support was gained by presenting the ethnic Albanians as victims of a Serbian yoke, rather than the representatives of a former foreign master. It would be interesting to see how Americans responded to a protestant minority in a united Ireland.

                            In examining all this, Dworkin thinks something important has changed in contemporary conflict. She argues that Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and so on reveal a new trend in warfare. Modern machismo no longer defends women and children. As systematic policy, the weakest are now often the first victims of mass rape, mutilation, torture and slaughter. Dworkin makes the case that such behavior is now part of a common culture. But what troubles her most, as a Zionist and a feminist, is evidence of Israel condoning and sometimes initiating brutal policies specifically against Arab and Palestinian women.

                            Our romance with macho aggression sends a clear message to Dworkin and, I would guess, quite a lot of women who wouldn't dream of calling themselves feminists. She has many bright fans who are not radical feminists. Anthony Burgess once defended her --- rising with half-cut dignity to the role of knightly ally on a TV programme. Hitchens, Self, Birchill, Greer and others have all praised her.
                            Ironically, because like Orwell she draws admiration from the right as well as the left, much of the liberal left has risen in fury against her. She was called a Nazi by The Nation and is frequently referred to almost casually as a fascist because she believes pornography is effective propaganda in a war on women and doesn't believe Playboy pictures are "speech". You don't have to agree with her, but you can always expect a high level of argument and thorough research (almost a quarter of this book for instance is source references).

                            Of course Dworkin isn't presenting a particularly novel observation here. Most women must feel at very least uneasy in any culture whose political, literary and financial vocabulary draws increasingly, as ours does, on the language of the stadium and the battle-field. Of course the weakest suffer most in an uncivil society. Clearly where women remain weak they will continue to get the worst of it. The question remains, how can we stop so much lawlessness?

                            Almost sardonically Dworkin concludes it's time the sisters started emulating Israel, packing heat and looking around for their own turf, but I feel the situation will change for the better, not because Andrea got her gun, but because eloquent thinkers like her rise above national and party politics, to find a wide and sometimes surprising support. Like the great rabbis, it places law and justice above sectarian interests. It respects its critics. I am absolutely certain for instance that with her natural courtesy and stubborn principles, her clarity of insight, Andrea Dworkin would be a huge hit at the next WI conference and would, when the time came to sing it, know every word of Jerusalem.
                            Last edited by The Cosmic Balance; 12-29-2008, 05:39 AM. Reason: Paragraph breaks added by Admin

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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